Dear parents and carers,
Sorry I know it is Friday night but I have some important updates and messages to give you.
We hope you are all staying safe and enjoying the glorious sunshine from your gardens! Thank you for continuing to share all the learning our wonderful children have been doing over the last week via our facebook page and using the class email system. It has been fantastic to see all the learning and creativity, it has kept all the staff smiling.
It's nearly the end of our first week and we are making some changes.
Communicating with everyone: We know that not everyone is on Facebook. So we will be sending work through parentmail and uploading it onto our website. We will be using facebook to post pictures and keep in touch and everyone will have access to their teachers via the email links that were sent earlier in the week. This way we know that everyone is accessing the work and resources. You will find instructions for accessing our website below.
Keeping us up to date: Please could you make sure we have your up-to-date telephone numbers and email addresses. Please email our firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can update our systems. All our systems require us to have your up-to-date contact details.
Telephone calls: Over the Easter Break, all teachers will be contacting all their classes via the phone. We want to check in with the children and let them know that we are thinking of them. This is just a catch-up and a way of supporting you all in these difficult circumstances. Teachers will be withholding their numbers so please watch for Caller Unknown as it will more than likely your child's teacher. We will then be continuing with the calls as we move into April and May, hopefully speaking with children once a fortnight.
Change in activities over the Easter Break: From Monday we will be moving to an Easter timetable of work. We will be sending out a suggested timetable which will have some more "fun" challenges on along with some learning. We want to keep structure and routine going to help family life whilst in lockdown but also understand that we all need to look after families and that you all have different family pressures to see to. There will be daily Joe Wicks workouts, some creative challenges along with some caring, kindness work!
After Easter Break: You will see from the news that it looks likely that we will be home-schooling for a little while yet. Over the Easter holidays, staff will be planning work ready for a return to more formal learning. We are going to keep this as simple, stress-free as possible. Staff will be setting work that can mostly be undertaken independently by the children. This will come via parentmail and our website. We are going to use some internet links to support you with the delivery. We have also written some guides on how to give a little bit of help – but not too much! There will be enough work to keep everyone busy but will hopefully not mean that you will have to teach and help out with lots of things at once.
Maths Text Books: We sent your child home with their Power Maths text books. Please don’t do any work from these. We will be using these to support their new learning after the holiday.
Childcare: I am attaching a letter from the Local Authority and our Cluster of Whitehaven Schools. This will explain that there will be limited child care available for essential key workers. It will be running from our school but has to be booked via the Local Authority. There will be strict protocols for booking and using so that we can minimise the risks that children and staff are exposed to. Please remember that the current guidance is that Children are safer at home.
Have a restful weekend and I do hope that you are keeping well,
Instructions for our Website:
We have set up a secure access page on our school website - Parents Secure. Follow the link below or click on Parents and it is part of the drop-down menu. Logging into the secure area of the website will allow you to access the resources and tasks that teachers compile for the children.
We have already added content such as reading materials and phonics videos however further communication about what to access for your children will follow.
Our school website address is: https://www.jericho.cumbria.sch.uk/
Jericho Primary School. Please keep up to date with our Corona virus information via Parentmail app, Facebook or our website - Parents/ Corona Virus
You then need to select parents > parents secure area.
password: Contact our admin or Mrs Ball - email@example.com for a password and username
Please DO NOT request to change the password as this is set for all users. If you are struggling with access then please use the class email address to notify teachers who will provide support.
UPDATE ON GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO COVID-19 AND EDUCATION
Please find attached a letter from the Local Authority and my letter below regarding our approach to the coming week ahead.
Thank you for all your support. Please read the following information carefully. There is a range of vital information for you to consider. Please know that the sentiment behind what I am saying is honest, heartfelt and in the spirit of trying to balance the needs of everyone.
Firstly: The government state that you and your family must stay at home and social distance. You must follow all the guidance regarding symptoms to keep you and your family safe. Today's correspondence from the local authority is that virus continue to take a grip across the country and is due to escalate significantly. For this reason I urge you to take care of yourselves and your family members.
We have sent work home this week because we want to make sure that children continue to learn in this period. However, you will know that there is a call for schools to provide a basic level of care to the most vulnerable children and the children of key workers. This is planned childcare and not education - you can only access that care if you are going to be in work and have no other childcare provision available whilst you are at work.
The Government states "If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be."
Our proximity to the hospital and Sellafield means we have more parents who may need child care. The possible demand for childcare may be greater than we have staff to provide. Our childcare provision will be running on a skeleton staff. Our staff are also key workers and so to balance the government's instruction to keep them safe we need to limit the number of staff on site. This will allow us to care for children in a sustainable way.
Late yesterday the Government provided clarity on those working in critical sectors i.e. key/critical workers. See the attached list from the local authority.
Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.
On Monday we will be offering a limited child care provision. This will be from 8:45 - 3:20 p.m. There will be no meal service.
Following this email there will be a further parentmail form for you to state if you require childcare and for what times. Parents who request this service must be able to prove that they are a key worker. This may be a letter or identification badge from your employment. This must be shown on Monday to register your children.
The parentmail form will be open until 5:00 p.m. this evening. This will enable us to rota staff who are available to run the childcare provision.
I must stress again that this should only be used if you have no other alternative.
It is very heart-warming to read the support that you have all shown on Facebook for our school and staff team, however, I must also now balance the needs of our community with the health, safety and well-being of our staff and families. They are all rightly anxious and nervous about the times ahead. Please consider this carefully and make the right for your family.
Update 19th March 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
This evening for some reason Parentmail has been undergoing maintenance. This means that I have been unable to communicate with you all. This appears now to be up and running. However, I will be posting updates through parentmail, facebook and our website (parents section) from now on so that we all keep in touch.
Many apologies for the lateness in this update. It has been a busy day!
Please be advised that we will be closing tomorrow at 3:15 p.m. At present the Local Authority are strategically planning regarding child care for the whole of the county. Not every school will be open on Monday. Every school has been asked to work with the local authority so that all essential NHS front line workers and carers have child care for next week initially. However, we will not know plans for next week until later tomorrow. If you have not responded to the questionnaire that I sent earlier, please do so. This is to inform planning. Many schools across Whitehaven have struggled with staff capacity this week including Jericho. This is why there will be a local authority coordinated response. I cannot stress enough how important it is that child care is for those front line essential key workers/ All child care offered will be sustainable especially during the peak times that will be needed. We are still awaiting the DFE guidance on key workers and how this will operate. I will update you as soon as the Local Authority advise schools tomorrow.
Today we sent home packs with all children. Home packs should contain enough work for the next week and into the Easter Holidays. If your child was not in school today then please can you arrange for someone to pick up the pack from the office tomorrow or we will try and drop off after school with a using a band of volunteers!
Year 6 SATS
You may have heard that there will be no statutory assessments for Year 6 in May. This is right and appropriate however……. It’s absolutely vital that we celebrate their achievements and keep them learning. This year, our Year 6’s have worked their socks off and have been fantastic. Please let them know how proud we are of them. This week they have sat their assessments for the spring term and have produced the best set of results that I have seen in a long time. It is however essential that they carry on learning. I have spoken to both classes today to stress the importance of being “Year 7 ready.” SATS are merely a marker in the sand and what is more important is that all our children continue to learn and love learning whilst we are away from school. We still have a huge amount of the curriculum that children need to complete to ensure that they begin secondary school with confidence. We have set work for the week ahead and as with all children, we will keep posting work to complete whilst we are away from school.
Power Maths and future learning
We have also sent Power Maths books this evening. These are our usual books that children use in class. Please do not use them just yet! We have sent them as a precaution so that we can use them after the Easter break to teach online lessons with. We hope to provide work after Easter using our resources. We have already prepared a Parents Secure section on our website for phonics where we will be able to access resources in the weeks that follow if needed. More information will follow. Power Maths books must be returned to school when we return as they are essential to our curriculum.
Free Schools Meals
I will be sending a parentmail to those who are entitled to free school meals tomorrow with the arrangements that we have made. Please keep watching for this.
Tomorrow I will let you know arrangements for contacting teachers for help with work next week and with arrangements for child care previously discussed.
I hope that you are all safe at home and I look forward to seeing many of you tomorrow.
(Now off to celebrate a housebound stepsons 21st)